Standard Bank mum on job cuts

2010-10-12 12:19

Standard Bank was still unable to provide details about the number of staff it intended to retrench, finance union Sasbo said today.

Its assistant general secretary Eugene Ebersohn said consultations between Sasbo – representing 15 000 employees – and the banking group started yesterday.

This followed a message sent out by the group’s chief executive advising staff of pending retrenchments.

“The bank wanted to paint a gloomy picture of its financial performance and the fact that the economic recovery is taking longer than anticipated, hence its need to cut staff,” said Ebersohn.

He said Sasbo did not agree with any exercise that could lead to the dismissal of any Standard Bank employee, “and we believe that other options should be considered, such as terminating agreements with external contractors, redeployment, utilising natural attrition and freezing executive bonuses.”

Unemployment was one of South Africa’s “biggest enemies” and although the bank’s first half financial performance was better than last year, “it still wants to boost its profits further by cutting jobs”.

Ebersohn said this was a “knee-jerk reaction” that was tantamount to the group abdicating its social responsibility.

“They should rather be focusing on retaining and creating employment opportunities instead of destroying jobs in order to further enhance their profits.”

He said Sasbo had no problem with an employer being profitable, “but we cannot agree with a ‘more profits at all costs’ philosophy”.

The bank was expected to provide feedback on alternatives and suggestions made by Sasbo when the parties met again late next week, Ebersohn said.

Standard Bank could not comment immediately.

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